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New Legislation To Ensure Stable Flu Supply
Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) last introduced legislation last Thursday that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set annual goals for influenza vaccine production through stockpiling and buyback activities. In addition, a vaccine-tracking system would be established within two years of approval to keep track of available vaccines on a county-to-county basis.
“Despite three shortages of seasonal flu vaccine since 2000, we still don’t have the flu-vaccine production and distribution infrastructure we need to ensure a stable supply and demand for seasonal flu vaccine, raising serious concerns about our ability to respond to a flu pandemic or an outbreak of avian flu,” Clinton stated in a release.
The proposed bill also would allow the secretary of HHS to authorize temporary liability protection for pandemic vaccine products, and the government would assume “liability for personal injury or death resulting from the manufacture, administration, or use of qualified pandemic influenza technologies.” While the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program covers liability for seasonal influenza vaccines, legal protection for the production of pandemic influenza strains has caused concern among vaccine manufacturers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection also would reach out to state and local health divisions to establish a registry that would list all medical personnel who could provide emergency services in the event of a health crisis or a flu-vaccine shortage.